Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May 2012 Malbecs: 12 Tasted of 12

Special Ribbon at Catena Zapata
Other than the Wines of the Month the rest in this posting are Malbecs selected from the 170+ found on the LCBO website. I enjoyed last month’s Wine of the Month Malbec so decided to investigate this variety further. 

Of the 170+ three dozen or so are General listings the rest being Vintages releases. About 140 are from Argentina. Coming in second are a dozen+ from the southwest of France then Chile with a half dozen more. Of the few from Canada Malbec appears to used as a blending component giving more body and colour to local grapes. How many of the 170+ are actually available in Ontario is unknown.
Included in the General listings are a few popular Malbecs from Italy and Chile near or below $10.

Related articles:
  1. Malbec World Day
  2. Christopher Waters, Toronto Sun (April 24, 2012)  -  Merry Malbec
  3. Doug Sloan, Celebrate Malbec World Day on April 17
  4. Photo courtesy of SeriousEats.com
Salut, Ww 
THE LINEUP - grouped by WOM and Malbecs:

  • (WOM) Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, 83  --  V, Alexander Valley, California, #038075  $23.95
  • (WOM) Stefano Accordini Acinatico Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2009, 80  --  V,  Piedmont, Italy, #085159  $19.95

  • l'Excellence du Château Bladinières 2008,  92-3  --  V, Cahors, France, #264671 $16.95
  • Georges Vigouroux Antisto Tradition Malbec 2008, 92a-2  --  V, Cahors, France,   #265462 $17.95 
  • Mendel Lunta Malbec 2009, 91-2  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #261917  $18.95
  • Mendel Malbec 2009,  90-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #108225 $24.95
  • Fabre Montmayou Reserva Malbec 2009,  88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #261867   $15.95  
  • Rigal Les Terrasses Malbec Cahors 2009, 86-1  --  G, Cahors, France, #245761   $12.95 
  • Lionel Osmin & Cie. Malbec 2009,  83  --  V, Cahors, France, #247544  $15.95
  • Los Haroldos Reserva de Familia Malbec 2008,  82a  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #269068  $14.95
  • Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum Malbec 2010,  79  --  G, Cahors, France, #255182   $13.75

  • Santa Julia Organic Malbec Rosé 2010, 82  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #120279  $12.95

(WOM - Wine of the Month, V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


WINES OF  THE MONTH  for May 2012 - Both released by Vintages on April 28, 2012

FREI BROTHERS  RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008, Alexander Valley, California, 14.2%  D, #038075  $23.95  (Tasted May 11, 2012)  CS

Rated 90 by Robert Parker Jr. (February 2011).   My notes:  80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and the rest Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot.  Aerate or let air an hour. A deep ruby colour that, with a swirl, forms a continuous rim eventually shedding a dozen slow tears. A sniff senses a mild earthy aroma of currants and cherries accented with a moderate tang. The first sip has a silky layer on a currant, cherry and berry seam and finishes dry with fine tannins and lightly flavoured.  The label says Cabernet Sauvignon but is a mild partner in this blend with an equal influence of Merlot and Verdot making this lighter than expected as a sipper. Aerating brings flavours forward improving the taste experience. Pair with a ham steak, chicken wings or vegetarian pizza - nothing cheesy. A drink now - not for cellaring.  83

STEFANO ACCORDINI ACINATICO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2009, Piedmont, Italy, 14.0% D, #085159  $19.95  (Tasted May 11, 2012)  CS

My notes:  A classic blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara grapes.  A murky ruby colour and a swirl gives an even coating with fast running legs. The nose has an aroma of black cherries blended with red currants and cranberries. The first sip is medium-bodied, has an acrid bite with fine tannins and bitter red currants (mindful of my neighbours home brew but cleaner). Aerating helps a bit.  Not a sipper - have with Italian pastas in a rich tomato sauce with chorizo sausage.Went well with a Quiznos Classic Italian w/chili peppers. Cellaring for several years may bring some softness - may also lose the fruit leaving the tannins and bite.  An extra dry, warm finish.  80


For the 11 Malbecs there'll be pairings of Argentinan and Cahors Malbec. The setup for the first pairing is the photo on the left...  I started with a pair but added a third for possible diversity. One thing about glasses - we stuck to wide bowls for each tasting as results were affected using different glasses. The tasting details are below:

MENDEL MALBEC 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.2% D, #108225  $24.95  (Tasted May 2, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on April 28, 2012 and rated 91 by Jay Miller (December 2011).  My notes:  The colour is opaque purple ruby rich as dark mahogany, brooding in the centre and right up to the meniscus.  Has a prominent ripe black cherry nose with an attractive softness. A swirl shows the same rim and tears as its partners in this tasting.  A sip is smooth with balanced tannins, acid and black cherry/berry softened by gentle tobacco. The profile carries through a long finish with a pleasing fullness. I found it to be a multifaceted sipper that could pair nicely with lamb or beef, grilled, crockpot or stewed. Went well with a bbq'd rib steak with Barbarian rub. 90

FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA MALBEC 2009,  Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5% XD, #261867   $15.95  (Tasted May 2, 2012)   CS

A Vintages release on March 31, 2012 and rated 91 by Jay Miller (October 2010). Produced by Domaine Vistalba S.A.  My notes:  Tasted the Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (#261891  $14.95) last month enjoying it as a sipper and grilled meats partner. The Malbec is a purple tinged, charcoal hued ruby, see-through at the edges of a broad bowl.  The black cherry nose is subtle and has a dusty aspect. A swirl brings a rim that is continuous and slowly shows tiny tears. Medium-bodied, a balanced tannin/acid with a subdued black cherry flavour tamed by touch of earthiness. A moderate finish ends with nice fruit level and a touch of silk making for an interesting sipper - no need for nibbles - or pairing with grilled lamb or beef. A drink now. 88

LIONEL OSMIN  & CIE MALBEC 2009, Cahors, France, 14.0%  XD, #247544   $15.95  (Tasted May 2, 2012)   CS

A Vintages release on October 1, 2011 and rated 89 by Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast (March 2011).  My notes: A purple tinged deep ruby a brighter see through at the edges in a broad bowl. A black cherry nose with some spice showing and with a continuous rim shedding slow tears.  The first sip has a red cherry flavour, very dry with tannins quickly coating the mouth going quickly into a dry finish and ending with a bright bramble touch.  The freshness in the fruit has appeal as a sipper but with a buffet table nearby. Was a tad thin paired with a rib steak w/rub - perhaps would fare better with a ham steak. Past peak?. 83

GEORGES VIGOUROUX ANTISTO TRADITION MALBEC 2008, Cahors, France,  14.0% D,  #265462   $17.95  (Tasted May 10, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on March, 2012.  My notes: A distinct purple tinge to a deep ruby with a thick film sticking to the glass and shedding long slow tears. A sumptuous aroma of ripe black plums and cherries, spices tingling the nose. Acid first then fine tannins waken the taste buds and embed warm flavours for an interesting first sip. Aerating improves a liveliness and balance of the first sip. The full profile continues into a long finish finally ending dry, earthy and having lost much of the initial sharpness. Being full-bodied with a build-up of tannin demands nibbles of bacon wrapped asparagus, stuffed mushrooms or paté on toasts.  Better with a savoury sauced sirloin or such. Cellaring for several years could mellow edges. 92

SANTA JULIA ORGANICA MALBEC ROSÉ 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.5% D, #120279   $12.95  (Tasted May 4, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release unknown date.  My notes:  A bright salmon colour crystal clear in the glass with scant scent of fruit perhaps a light peach. A lacy rim falls quickly projecting a lightish medium-bodied sipper. Silky mouth feel is the most appealing trait of the first sip with a subtle unripe peach flavour which fades slowly leaving the silk. Has little of a Malbec character - better chilled and served as a summer sipper. The silk and a mild acid wasrefreshing with grilled tiger shrimp and mushroom risotto. A drink now. 82

L'EXCELLENCE DU CHÂTEAU BLADINIÈRES 2008, Cahors, France, 13.0% D, #264671  $16.95  (Tasted May 14, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on February 4, 2012 and winner of a Gold Medal at the 2010 Coucours des Vignerons Indépendants in Paris.  My notes: The telltale purple of Malbec (75%) and soft touch of Merlot (25%) with an aroma and polite bite of ripe plums and black cherries on the nose. Aerating or airing 30 minutes min helps settle its intro. A swirl shows a fragmented rim and fast flowing tears. The first sip has the feel of fine tannins, a warm and tangy bite and flavours of blackberries deepened by a earthy edge, the velvet texture carrying through a long warm finish. A sipper for aged leather, a crackling fireplace and  recollections of past times. Went well with Ale-Braised Short Ribs, Fiddleheads and Roasted Potatoes (I used white and sweet). Cellar for several more years or drink now.  92
GEORGES VIGOUROUX PIGMENTUM MALBEC 2010, Cahors, France, 13.5% XD, #255182   $13.75  (Tasted June 4, 2012)  CS
A General listing.  My notes: A deep ruby with a raspberry hued edge and a film that slowly falls through tiny tears circling a lacy rim. The nose has minute fruit tainted by an earthy dullness. The first sip has prominent tannins, soft with a mild acid and blackberry fruit making this a possible open bar starter provided a buffet is nearby. Flavours and body fall off quickly leaving a hollow dryness on the palate. Pair with pizza or pasta meals - something with life. A drink now - becomes metallic if kept over.  79

RIGAL LES TERRASSES MALBEC CAHORS 2009,  Cahors, France, 13.5% XD, #245761   $12.95  (Tasted May 18, 2012)  CS
A General listing.  My notes:  Front label says Malbec - back label shows a blend with 20% Merlot. A soft earthy nose with the faint scent of warm crushed blackberries. Purple hued ruby dense and regal. A swirl leaves a clean rim flowing fast tears and the first sip is smooth lightly tangy with fine tannins and young berry flavours. Acid and tannins carry well into a long finish leaving behind most of the fruit and ending soft and dry. A medium-bodied sipper for a social setting - a buffet table would extend interest. Pair with anything Italian and tomato-y or have with grilled sirloin, bbq'd ribs or saucy chicken pieces. A drink now. 86

MENDEL LUNTA MALBEC 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% XD, #261917   $18.95  (Tasted May 17, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release on April 28, 2012 and winner of a Gold Medal at the 2011 Argentina Wine Awards in Mendoza.  Also rated 91 by Michael Schachner of the Wine Enthusiast (November 2011).   My notes: Purple tinted and deeply hued ruby in the glass with a scent of black currants softened by blackberries. A swirl leaves a continuous rim quickly shedding fast tears. The first sip brightens the palate with sharp acid matching fine tannins and the blending of fresh fruit. Serve to discriminating guests for a warm greeting to an open house or summer patio bbq. A bit of a tooth cleaner - aerating helps - but nevertheless a welcomed sipper. Pair with any grilled red meat with savoury seasonings. Cellaring for several more years should be beneficial but also a bright drink now. 91

LOS HAROLDOS RESERVA DE FAMILIA MALBEC 2008, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  XD, #269068   $14.95  (Tasted June 4, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release on April 28, 2012.  My notes:  A deep charcoal tinged ruby opaque in the glass with an aroma of plums, black olives and mild herb. A continuous rim sheds many slow tears seeming to stick to the glass. Full-bodied, silky smooth with a touch of tart and some warmth along with a subtle black plum & herb flavouring that slowly fades to a dry herbal finish. Air an hour or aerate to lessen herbal aspect and is preferred. A curious well developed profile lacking a fruity backbone and appeal.  Have with seasoned grilled beef - good paired with Chimichurri Tri-Tip Sirloin with Sweet Potato fries.  Already four years and not likely to improve with extended cellaring. A drink now likely past peak. 82  


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